– Adam Wainwright can become the first National League to reach 15 wins, but to get there, he’ll have to outpitch Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who is 12-7 with a 2.89 ERA that ranks seventh in the NL. Wainwright is fifth at 2.61. Oddly enough, Rodriguez is 3-7 against the Cardinals in his career, even though he’s limited Albert Pujols to a .120 average and no extra-base hits or RBI in 25 at-bats.
– After No. 7 takes on No. 5 in St. Louis, No. 6 and No. 3 will duel in San Francisco. Arizona‘s Dan Haren was the NL’s most effective pitcher in the first half, but he’s 3-3 with a 4.91 ERA since the break, dropping him behind five pitchers. Cain currently has a 2.4305 ERA, while teammate Lincecum is at 2.4281. Both are trailing Chris Carpenter at 2.16.
– 25-year-old right-hander Armando Gabino will make his major league debut for the Twins tonight after going 5-3 with a 2.83 ERA, 65 H and 55/22 K/BB in 86 IP for Triple-A Rochester. A reliever for most of the year, he had made just five starts — and one of those was an abbreviated three-inning outing Friday to put him in line to pitch tonight. Gabino throws in the low-90s consistently as a reliever and has displayed an improved changeup this year. He’s a long shot to last as a starting pitcher, but he’s proven to be a nice find for a guy originally picked up in the minor league Rule 5 draft.
Game of the Night
Los Angeles vs. Colorado – With the NL West gap down to three games after the Rockies’ walkoff grand slam against the Giants last night, the Dodgers travel to Colorado to begin a three-game series tonight. The Dodgers would seem to have the right pitcher on the mound in Clayton Kershaw, but they’ve actually lost each of the left-hander’s last six starts, even though he has allowed just 11 runs during the span. Plus, Kershaw is 2-3 with a 6.07 ERA against Colorado in his career. The Rockies will throw Jason Hammel, who like Kershaw, is 8-7 on the season. It will be a rematch of a July 1 game which the Dodgers won 1-0, leaving Hammel with a complete-game loss. The difference is that tonight’s contest will be in Coors Field, where Hammel is 2-3 with a 7.02 ERA this season.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.